Cape Town - Emerging markets will be the next growth driver for mobile smart technologies and devices running Android will dominate the market, research has shown.
According to research firm Gartner, over 75% of Android's volumes will come from emerging markets by 2017 and the globally popular operating system is poised to surpass one billion users in 2014.
The growth in emerging markets means that the window for high-end premium devices is closing, Gartner said.
"Mobile phones are a must have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
Gartner estimated that Android will reach 1.1 billion users in 2014, a 26% increase from the 877 million in 2013. The growth is significant particularly because mobile phone shipments are expected to moderate in 2014 with 1.89 billion shipments, about 5% up from 2013.
The research firm found that the Android had particular appeal because devices running the operating system were often cheaper than competitors with propriety software.
"There is no doubt that there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users," said Annette Zimmerman, principal analyst at Gartner.
But not everyone is happy with the dominance of Android.
A group comprising giants like Intel, Fujitsu, Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Vodafone, among others, are planning to launch Tizen as a direct competitor to Google's Android.
Canonical in the UK is racing to produce a smartphone based on the Ubuntu platform that will allow users to seamlessly integrate PC functionality into the mobile device.
Though the company failed in its crowd funding campaign for the high-end smartphone, the plans is ambitious.
"The Ubuntu Edge will dual boot Ubuntu phone OS and Android, and will transform into a PC when connected to a monitor, with the full Ubuntu desktop and shared access to all the phone's files," said Ubuntu founder and astronaut Mark Shuttleworth.